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New Abu Dhabi Influencer Law: Fines Have Social Media Buzzing

Abu Dhabi’s Department of Economic Development (ADDED) is implementing new licensing requirements for businesses and social media influencers engaged in digital advertising, effective July 1. As state news media WAM reports, the authority intends to regulate the digital advertising space and ensure compliance with local regulations.

Under the new mandate, all economic establishments and social media influencers must obtain appropriate licenses to advertise on websites and social media platforms. Individual influencers pay a licensing fee of Dhs1,250 ($340), while companies or groups of influencers pay Dhs5,000 ($1,360).

Non-compliance with these regulations can result in fines ranging from Dhs3,000 ($816) to Dhs10,000 ($2,700). In severe cases, businesses may face closure for disregarding ADDED’s circulars.

The licensing requirement extends beyond Abu Dhabi. Influencers operating anywhere in the UAE must also secure a permit from the UAE Media Council. This dual requirement ensures compliance with both local and national media guidelines.

Licensing costs and requirements vary across emirates:

  • Dubai requires a UAE Media Council license and an individual freelance trade license, with total costs reaching Dhs30,000 ($8,160).
  • Ras Al Khaimah offers a social media influencer license for Dhs3,550 ($966) annually, including the National Media Council permit.
  • Ajman provides licenses starting at Dhs2,500 ($680) for individuals and Dhs10,000 ($2,700) for companies, with an additional Dhs260 ($70) for National Media Council approval.

As Gluf Business reports, industry professionals and marketing agencies generally support the regulations, viewing them as necessary for maintaining standards and compliance in the fast-growing field of influencer marketing.

The new licensing system promotes transparency and accountability in the industry while allowing influencers and businesses to legally engage in advertising and promotional activities on digital platforms. Applications for these licenses can be made through the Tamm website, the official portal for Abu Dhabi government services.

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David Adler is an entrepreneur and freelance blog post writer who enjoys writing about business, entrepreneurship, travel and the influencer marketing space.

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